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Colonialism and Decolonization in National Historical Cultures and Memory Politics in Europe

Modules for History Lessons

Edited By Uta Fenske, Daniel Groth, Klaus-Michael Guse and Bärbel P. Kuhn

Colonialism and decolonization are historical phenomena that are part of the historical experience of many European countries. This volume offers students and teachers a new understanding of how colonialism and decolonization fit into our shared European past and contains teaching materials for history classes in European schools. The contributions have been produced by the EU project CoDec, involving partners from Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Great Britain, Austria, Poland and Switzerland. Analyzing colonial pasts, processes of decolonization and memory politics in different European countries from comparative and transnational perspectives, the study presents useful sources and practical suggestions for cutting-edge history lessons in European schools.
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Introduction

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Contexts and Concerns of the Book

The present volume documents the project “Colonialism and Decolonization in National Historical Cultures and Memory Politics in European Perspective” funded within the framework of the Lifelong Learning Programme of the EU from 2013 to 2015. The goal of the project was to develop new approaches to mediating this theme complex in schools in a comparative perspective together with European partners from Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Austria, Poland, Scotland and Switzerland. For this purpose, historians, history didacticians and teachers closely cooperated. The project focused on European colonialism since the late 18th century, even though the European colonial past of the modern age reaches back to the 15th century. Although the colonial experiences in the countries involved showed and still show different forms of progression and diverse effects, these experiences tend to be a connecting element at the same time. Colonialism as the thematic framework of the project stands in the field of tension between the perception of colonialism and decolonization as shared European past on the one hand, and the varied ways of dealing with these phenomena in the single European states on the other. Therefore, the core idea of the common project was to discuss to what extent the national historical cultures in the context of colonialism and decolonization can be located in a collective European framework. Or to put it differently, whether Europe – despite the various dividing historical developments and memories – is or could be a memory community with regard...

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